When you are the project manager trying to get as much following and high performance and cooperation from your project team as possible, you know it can sometimes be those little things that count the most. You can ask or demand respect and loyalty from them team, but no one really gets true respect or loyalty by demanding it.
How do you get it? You earn it through proper leadership, consistent behavior and by showing the project team the same loyalty and respect that you hope to get in return. When you get it, you deserve it…you didn’t demand it.
Here – from my own experiences, observations, and opinions – I’m going to present what I consider to be four key behaviors and steps to take for the best project team building and gaining of team member loyalty and respect.
Do what you say you will do – follow through.
Consistency. Integrity. Honesty. The bottom line is this…be that leader they are expecting you to be. If the team knows they can count on you and you aren’t making erratic and inconsistent decisions and giving inconsistent directions then your team will be more relaxed and likely perform at the highest level possible. They know you have their back, you are on their side, and what you said last week or last month in the status meeting to them still applies today. And they always feel as though they are in the loop and up to date. All excellent elements for project success and high team performance.
Recognize and call out accomplishments.
Call out the project team and individual project team members on outstanding efforts and outcomes. Send out a “press release” email to the entire company when a major deliverable is rolled out successfully, a key milestone is met, or the project is deployed ad planned. But if problems orb issues happen, avoid pointing fingers and take it as a team and attack it as a team. The end result will be a higher performing and more cohesive team.
Over communicate – don’t assume.Preview
Communication is Job One with me as far as project management responsibility and success goes. You can’t lead well without being an excellent communicator – and that includes listening, too. Your project team should feel like you are almost in constant communication with them. Send out updates no matter how big or small. One of my business analysts once told me that he received more email updates from me on the project than all the other project managers he was working with on the various projects he was or had ever been assigned to…and he considered that a great thing. Made my day.
Display strong and decisive leadership.
Make good decisions and stand behind them. Involve the team in decision-making as much as possible but display strong leadership and confidence throughout. Do it right and your project team would follow you into the desert without water…or at least through downtown Las Vegas without water. Trust me, that’s dangerous enough!
Summary/call for input
The key is to make sure the project team knows you have your back and that you’re not looking over their shoulder all the time. Trust, confidence, communication and consistency.
Readers – what makes up your list here? Do you agree with this list? What would you add or change?